Andrea Bocelli, GRANDE UFFICIALE OMRI (born 22 September 1958) is an Italian tenor, multi-instrumentalist and classical crossover artist. Born with poor eyesight, he became totally blind at the age of twelve following a soccer accident.
From the release of his debut album, “Il Mare Calmo della Sera,” after winning the Newcomers section of the Sanremo Music Festival, with the song of the same name, in 1994, to the release of his first holiday album, “My Christmas,” the best-selling holiday album and one of the best-selling albums of 2009, he has sold over 70 million copies woldwide. Thus, he is the biggest-selling singer in the history of Classical music.
In 1999, his nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards marked the first time a classical artist had been nominated in the category, since Leontyne Price, in 1961. “The Prayer,” his duet with Celine Dion for the animated film, “The Quest for Camelot,” won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category.
With the release of his classical album, “Sacred Arias,” Bocelli captured a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, as he simultaneously held the No. 1, 2 and 3 positions on the U.S. Classical albums charts.
The next three-and-a-half years followed with Bocelli holding permanent residency at the No. 1 spot. Five of his albums have since reached the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, and a record-setting 7, have topped the Classical albums charts, in the United States.
With over 5 million units sold worldwide, “Sacred Arias” became the biggest-selling classical album by a solo artist of all time, and with just under 20 million units sold worldwide, his 1997 pop album, “Romanza,” became the best-selling album by an Italian artist ever, as well as the best-selling album by a foreign artist in Canada, and a number of other countries in Europe and Latin America. The album's first single, "Time to Say Goodbye", topped charts all over Europe, including Germany, where it stayed at the Top of the charts for fourteen consecutive weeks, breaking the all-time sales record, with over 3 million copies sold in the country.
"Con te partirò", Bocelli's original solo version of the single, also became the best-selling single ever in Belgium, in 1996 He is widely regarded as the most popular Italian and classical singer in the world.
In 2006, Bocelli was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and on March 2, 2010, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for his contribution to Live Theater.